French poll majorityagainst Turkey in EU

28th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 28 (AFP) - A majority of the French public is against Turkey's entry into the European Union though most are also prepared to imagine it joining at some future date, according to an opinion poll released Tuesday.

PARIS, Sept 28 (AFP) - A majority of the French public is against Turkey's entry into the European Union though most are also prepared to imagine it joining at some future date, according to an opinion poll released Tuesday.  

Some 56 percent of those asked said they were opposed in principle to Turkish entry, with 36 percent in favour, according to the Ipsos survey of 932 people published in Le Figaro newspaper.  

The result showed a clear decrease in the number of those opposed to Turkish entry in the three months since a similar poll was held. In June 61 percent were against it.  

The poll also suggested that opinions could shift further with 63 percent agreeing with the statement, "If Turkey makes the necessary political and economic efforts, it will be possible to imagine its entry in the future."  

The question of Turkey's application to join the EU has become a matter of strong debate in France, as the December deadline approaches when the 25-nation bloc decides whether to start accession talks.  

President Jacques Chirac has said he supports Turkey's eventual admission but his ruling party, the Union for a Popular Movement, is firmly opposed.  

In an interview published in Le Monde on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier threw his support behind Ankara's EU bid, saying: "The advantages for us and for Turkey outweigh the difficulties that we might encounter."  

"The geopolitical risks, especially the risk of this large country turning away from Europe, would be huge if the process were to be blocked," Barnier told the influential newspaper.  

"Should we encourage Turkey to choose the European model, or do we take the risk of it choosing another model?" the minister asked.  

This week two cabinet members - Barnier and Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy - have backed Chirac's call for a referendum on the issue.  

Commentators said the government fears the Turkish issue will obscure the debate leading up to next year's planned referendum on the EU's constitutional treaty, making a no vote there more likely.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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